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On Sat, 11 Oct 2008 11:56:46 -0400, Scott Braaten <[log in to unmask]> 
wrote:

>On Fri, 10 Oct 2008 11:16:22 -0400, Mike Bernstein 
<[log in to unmask]>
>wrote:
>> Every resort on the 
>>Green Mtn spine from K-Mart to Jay gets more snow than Keystone, yet I'll 
bet 
>>the average snowpack in the trees at Keystone is much deeper than here. 
>
>Do you really think the trees at Keystone are deeper?  I understand the
>analogy but I actually doubt there is more snow in the trees at Keystone. 
>The continental climate is great in that it doesn't rain but base depths out
>there don't get as big as many think.  Steamboat will occasionally hit 100"
>at the summit, and I think I've seen Crested Butte and Telluride go to 100"
>at the top.  
>
>Tony Crocker's snow stats webpage bestsnow.net has this data listed:
>
>Keystone...snowfall 227"...ave max depth 58"
>Stowe...snowfall 230"...ave max depth 92"
>
>Granted, the snowfall data is from the stake and well under-recorded because
>you can't have only 230" of snow and get to 92" settled depth on
>average...but for comparison's sake, it shows the difference in the snow
>depths.  Stowe's average max depth is also higher than all of Tony's
>"Northern and Central Colorado" resorts (Vail is closest with 91"); I will
>say the stake depth is only representative of about 500-700 vertical feet
>along the Mansfield Ridge, but interesting none-the-less.    

I knew you wouldn't be able to stay away from this discussion.  Couple points 
of interest here.  Looking at the data points you've presented, I guess it's not 
surprising that the avg peak base depth at a place like Keystone is not in fact 
as large as that at the stake.  Continental snow is a lot dryer and compacts a 
lot more than the coastal stuff we generally get around here.  Still, I will stand 
by my general contention that the trees at your Rockies resort will be skiable 
more often than their New England counterparts.  Snow retention is simply 
better out there, and you won't have week long periods where the trees are, 
or should be, off limits b/c there is an inch thick crust on it or half of it is 
gone.  Perhaps more interesting than peak base depth is avg DJFM base 
depth.  I suspect that the difference from an absolute and % standpoint isn't 
nearly as great.  The stake may have a few weeks, at most, of depth 
exceeding 80-90" where my contention is that Keystone is closer to its max 
depth for a much longer period of time.  

 
>>What made 2006-2007 so special around here wasn't the copius snowfalls, 
>>which were great, but rather the fact that it didn't go above freezing for 
two 
>>months starting MLK weekend.  As long as it's consistently cold with no 
>major thaws, even minor snowfalls will result in fantastic off-trail skiing.
>What also helped make 06-07 so special was a certain blizzard on a hallmark
>holiday that rose base depths 2-4 feet in the course of a day.  Then it
>didn't stop snowing for two months.  But when I think about it, Bernstein's
>right here.  The pattern really did change in mid-January '07 and it slowly
>started to snow.  We were just so far behind at that point that we needed
>the V-Day blitz.  That storm was so crucial to the rest of the season, but
>wouldn't have been possible without the pattern switch in January.

I think we're both saying the same thing here.  There is no doubt that the 
pattern changed dramatically on MLK weekend.  We went from almost zero 
cover to decent skiing in selected mid-mountain hardwoods by the end of 
January.  In the first two weeks of Feb, conditions improved still further.  The 
V-Day storm clearly was a paradigm shift from a base depth perspective, as 
we went from "pretty good" to "really great" in the course of two days.  Still, 
with a normal New England pattern, we could have lost much of that, or had it 
locked underneath 2" of crust, within a week.  But it stayed cold and we were 
able to add more and more on top such that March was a great time to ski 
lines that hadn't been possible for 5-6 years.

Yeah, the big dumps are a lot of fun from a wather watching perspective, but 
give me 10" per week and consistent below freezing weather and it will 
produce a good season and, more importantly, an extended tree skiing season.

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